EXOCRINES  These are stock models from Armorcast, painted similar to the more conventional models below.
STRAGITORS  These massive horrors are a mixture of parts from Starcraft Zerg figure and a Resident Evil figure.
I'm really happy with the paint job- I actually painted these the same way I painted my Genestealers (more on them in Part 2).
Tyranids run a wide range of colors, so I opted to paint mine green.  Here's one of the old Hive Tyrants, built stock.   I have found a quick way to paint my Tyranids, using mostly washes (I paint with Enamels by the way, which do nice washes).  First I prime the models in white, then give them a light brown wash all over, then a heavy green wash on the skin areas, then paint weapons, eyes, mouths etc. with reddish colors, and finally, I give the whole model a dark brown wash..  Once I got the hang of doing washes, I found this was a quick way to paint my Tyranids and give them the more biological look they deserve.  The final dark brown wash really dirtys up the models, making them look more like real living creatures and not so much like toys.
Although the new plastic Tyranid Warrior models are incredible, I still have a lot of the old ones around and didn't want them to go to waste.  This is one of the original plastic Tyranid Warriors from Advanced Space Crusade, rearmed with a more modern Deathspitter from the new set.   (I did pick up a set of the new plastic Warriors, but they all went to conversion projects!  More on that later).

This model is mostly skin, so I started with a green wash, then did a light brown wash on the gun and armor plates.  I painted the internal orans red (if you're painting the old tyranid plastics, do this BEFORE gluing the ribcage on!), and bits of the weapon, and the mouth.  Then the whole model got a dark brown wash.  Again, remember that I'm using flat enamels, not inks, which is why the wash dries to a flat finish.

This is an old plastic Tyranid, converted to hold one of the metal heavy weapons (thank you, Mail Order!).  I love the way these guys look with heavy weapons- I try to pose them sensibly, so they tend to be leaning back somewhat  to compensate for the weapon's weight.  Since the metal weapon is so heavy, I have to put these guys on cavalry bases to keep them from tipping over!  Again, the green and bone color scheme is prominent here, plus the Barbed Strangler demonstrates the "vein and artery" colors I use for some of my Tyranid weapons.  Creepy..
I love the fact that you get a zillion weapons in the new plastic Gants box- it just MAKES you do wacky conversions like this one. Yes, I replaced all four arms on this classic plastic Warrior with Spinefists.  It's nice that the larger models actually get more power behind their weapons- makes them dangerous no matter what they're carrying! 

This model was painted with a dark green wash, light brown wash on the weapons and armor, and then a dark brown wash over the whole model.  He came out darker than my other models, but I like the grittiness.  One nice thing about priming in white is that when you do washes, you can actually rub off some color from previous coats to get a white highlight.  I sometimes do this while doing the final wash to get some contrast in the model and show off details like bony ridges, etc.

This is my favorite Tyranid conversion by far.  I loved the concept of the Lictor, skulking about and pulling in  unsuspecting victims with it's flesh hooks, but I winced at the garish pose of the original  model- the poor thing looks like it's exploding!  Inspired by Mark Gibbons' illustration, I set to work.  First, I removed the comical lower jaw from the body, and angled the head down so just the tentacles were visible.  This created a gap in the back of the neck, which I filled with putty. Next I set about reposing the lower body,  by turning it completely around! This makes the model hunch forward nicely.   I reattached the tail and body pincer with a minor bit of work. Then, the massive claw limbs were chopped down to size (cutting from the bottom) and reattached.  Finally, I reeled in the flesh hooks (trimming from the back), and clipped down the spikes on the knees and elbows. Using thick washes, I painted him  a nice, dark green and put him on a cavalry base so he'd fit in tight spots on the table.  You can almost believe this guy can infiltrate now!
I love Lictors so much that I wanted to make a bunch more of 'em when I upgraded my Tyranid forces.  The problem was cost: The new models are $20 apiece, the old ones up to a whopping $25, and I didn't really like either model that much anyway!  So I came up with this clever conversion and made a bunch of these guys.  This is the upper torso of the new Ravener model (including the head and scything claws) attached to the lower torso of one of the new Tyranid Warrior models.  The Ravener body is perfect for a skulking Lictor pose, as it curves forward and has a low head.  I made some feeder tendrils from brass wire and tucked them under the Ravener head (minus the lower jaw).  The fleshhooks are right off the new Warrior sprue (did I mention these sprues are loaded with goodies?).  The claw arms are from plastic Genestealers, of all things!    This project really becomes cost effective when you see what I did with the rest of the bits left over...
The Raveners were the most innovative addition to Tyranids of late, so I did not hesitate to buy some.  But after my Lictor conversions (above), I needed upper torsos for my Raveners.  Why, the Tyranid Warrior upper torsos, of course!  To get the curve to match and to better join the two different parts,  I spliced in part of a Genestealer's back.  I decided to arm them with lots of guns instead of melee (allowed in our house rules), so I fitted the original Devourer to the lower arm sockets, and put one of the original plastic Warrior Deathspitters in the upper sockets (since I had them surplus).  I really like the way the new Tyranid Warrior heads look  on my Raveners- much more fierce than the original head.  So there it is: from 3 Ravener blisters and 1 Warriors box, I made 3 lictors and 3 Raveners- not bad!
Although the new Zoanthrope model is not bad, I still liked the image of a big, pan-headed beast blasting targets with psychic energy.  Unfortunately, the old Zoanthrope model was expensive and not very impressive- the head wasn't big enough, and it suffered from "clown" syndrome- like all the other metal Tyranid models of the time (especially the Warriors, with their awkward poses, big hands and feet, and rediculous grinning faces).   So I set about making my own.  I started with a metal Queen Alien head a friend of mine had made, shortened it, used the face from a Mutie Raider mount, and filled the back of the head with putty and sculpted in some "brain" texture.  I attached this head to a Chaos Spawn body I had lying round (which has, conveniently enough, 6 holes in it waiting for limbs).  The arms are from the new Tyranids and Hormagaunts, and the legs are those big feet ones I complained about earlier (they were nice and low at least).  The tail is made of the neck of that mutie raider steed head.
A side view of my Zoanthrope.  I like the end result- especially since the model has no visible eyes to speak of.  The massive, bony head piece looks tough enough to stop bolter rounds and protect that critical brain behind.  Between the arched body and short legs, I managed to get the model's head pointing almost straight ahead like a weapon.  A strange conversion, but one I'm happy with.
I had not one but TWO of the original metal Carnifex models kicking around, and  although I didn't really like them, I was too poor to shell out the cash for one of the new ones.   So I found ways to upgrade the old ones!  This beast is particularly odd- I replaced the legs with another pair of arms, turned the whole model around and on it's front so it was walking on it's arms like a spider.  I added a head from the new Tyranid Warriors  where the original back of the model was (so it was obvious that this was now the front of the model) and built up extra armor by gluing pieces of seashell onto the back  (cheap and effective!).    The end result is a big but skulking beast that looks pretty practical, in a disturbing way.
This one's a bit more straightforward.  I liked the fact that the new Carnifex "carried" his weapons in hand (rather than that goofy bioplasma screaming).  So I replaced the lower arms on this guy with the venom cannon from the Tyranid Warriors boxed set.  As with the model above, I glued on some spiky bits of Sea Shell to bulk up the armor and make the model look more ancient and heavy.  Although smooth armor is more practical in real life, it just bugged me that a model this big would be so featureless.

For those of you who are unaware of Zoats, brace yourself for some heresy and blasphemy- Yes, Zoats were once part of the Tyranid army list, but have been since exorcized.  The current army list doesn't suffer without them, but since I had the models anyway, I included them in my army.  I replaced this guy's deathspitter with one of the  Devourers from the new Gants box (they finally give you more weapons than you'd ever want in the box! Hooray!).


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